End the property tax nightmare!

February 15, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 9:18 pm

We gave testimony yesterday at the Joint committee hearings on the Governor’s (Cuomo) budget….Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Of course…the topic was:

Property taxesawful, disgusting, confiscatory, unfair, chaotic, exorbitant…(add your adjective & send it to me)

The Cuomo budget-awful, disgusting, unfair, incoherent, with huge cuts in income taxes for the super wealthy  and cuts in services and higher property taxes for the rest of us.

The hearings were run very well.

Assemblyman Farrell (D)Chair, Ways and Means Comm. and Senator De Francisco(R) Ranking member of the Finance Comm., chaired the hearings and kept things moving.

The Assembly is currently majority Dem. and the Senate is currently majority Rep.

Most speakers weren’t happy with the budget…of course my old buddy EJ MCMahon was there defending the rights of the richest among us and shedding croc tears for multi- millionaires.…but the property tax is okay with him because it’s “stable”. So was serfdom as a labor source in the middle ages but hey….not for the serf.

It’s too bad the guy is really embedded in the enemy camp because he’s probably charming if you’re just talking film  over sherry.

However, my priorities differ a bit…I am perfectly happy to let the Boys from the Banks give up the gold faucets in their third bath so a child in kindergarten won’t be in a class of 72.

I’m just crazy that way, I guess. Pass the sherry.

Oh and I kind of think families shouldn’t be driven from their homes because every year property taxes consume more and more of their incomes while hedge fund operators sock it away in Geneva. Just a nutty idea about values…

Ron Deutsch from New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, Coordinator of our Omnibus Consortium and of a coalition fighting for a budget that favors NYS and not the few people in it who take home all the loot (as Cuomo’s budget does), did the heavy lifting for all of us…chapter and verse on why the budget was a disaster.

The messenger is the message …frankly kids, if The Manhattan Institute, the Comm. to “Shave” NYS,  The (BIG) Business Council, and other fellow big bucks travelers love a budget, you know you’re going to get screwed by it.

…Unless of course if you’re a multi-billionaire reading this blog as hard core porn. Hey! It happens.

Kudos to H. Farrell who looked so elegant it was hard to believe he didn’t have a Jeeves type valet tucked away somewhere in Albany. Okay, so I stray from the topic now and then.

Barbara Sides, Zee Zimet, Ronissimo  Deutsch, John and Roberta Whiteley made up the Omnibus Consortium posse at this hearing. Other Omnibus cohorts were elsewhere in the building at other meetings…the joint was jumping.

Robert McKeon was off in Africa with his family but still emailing…we are obsessed.

Later-getting on to supper time-still not having eaten and getting a little frayed around the edges we met with the charming representative of the League of Women Voters , Barbara Bertolli ( I’ll check that spelling) She obviously has the same valet as Farrell because she was fresh as the proverbial daisy while I felt like a wilted weed…oh well…we all fell upon Roberta’s stash of chocolate like ravening wolves but managed a great conversation about the circuit breaker…we all like the circuit breaker …the cap??…bring on the  barf bag … we also traded some good Albany stories –(wait for the book which I’m not writing but somebody will.)

All in all a great day for the good guys. 

Welcome back to advocating for tax reform , Barbara Sides, (fellow Taxnightmare coordinating Comm. member)

Barb was building the Gardiner library (yes, single handedly) as Prez of the Board…the library is finished and she’s back in the fight to save the middle class…she doesn’t do small stuff.

I will blog Ron’s testimony when he actually writes it down.


February 13, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 6:28 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 6:23 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 6:19 pm


Wanna see a picture of -and read about- who’s on the governor’s big best friend Committee to Save (Shave) NYS???? Sunday, February 13, 2011


What a feast of people making many millions and multi- billions at the public trough…a feast to give honest, hardworking folks indigestion.

Suffice it to say, these are the chancers pushing for a crappy cap and the governor’s disastrous budget which will further shift the cost of everything onto you and your property taxes (already crazy big) and the rewards from everything onto the-you guessed it-members of the above mentioned committee to help Cuomo strip our public services and raise our property taxes.

Speaking of which …a “pride” of tax reformers  (that’s the collective when speaking of tax reformers as opposed to a “bunkum” of big bankers for example) went to Garrison on Thursday for a forum on Kevin Cahill’s bill dealing with property tax reform –Equity in Education.

Scheduled to speak also was Frank Mauro whom Kevin described variously as the guru of good government fiscal matters and a genius (or words to that effect).

Applause from the audience showed they agreed with his assessment of Mauro, the author of our Omnibus Tax Solution Bill which is the answer to the property tax crisis. Kevin is also a co-sponsor of that bill.

See it online on …you’ll get a kick out of the new feature Bad Cap City…

…an added attraction was the appearance of an apologist for the big bail out bonus businesses and financial scammers who brought us the BIG recession and are still feasting on the remains while everyone else picks up the pieces..

I must admit it took guts (or cluelessness?)  for this rich man’s propaganda tank guy to appear before a large audience of folks who could lose their homes to grotesque, incoherent, and exorbitant property taxes when you consider his message was “Tough luck, dudes, as long as my super- wealthy paymasters (including the ones who make big $$$ on Wall St. and take it home to NJ and Conn.) continue to rake it in you’ll just have to suck it up!”.

He said:

The property tax is good –- and it should be used to fund all those services like education and health care that the state really doesn’t want to fund because it’s a sure fire way to guarantee that funds will be stable… because if they don’t pay any crazy amount required they’d lose their homes.  

Kinda like saying , “Pay me ransom money or I’ll torch your house.” Sure they’re gonna pay up!

He also declared:

The income tax is bad because his masters don’t want to pay anything based on their obscene incomes and would rather decimate services like schools and hospitals and health care and roads and security than see a penny of their pelf put to some use other than yachts, jewels for their arm candy, fleets of cars, and pricey homes around the globe where they can go to escape US taxes.

The only explanation for this ghastly performance is that the gentleman in question thought he was addressing the Board of JP Morgan  or maybe AIG .

Kevin was excellent as was Frank in explaining that their respective solutions-which can be reconciled- would relieve property owners and renters and  reform the tax system.

…and if people hadn’t known before the forum that the Big businesses behind the Cuomo budget ( AKA The Comm. to “Shave” NYS ) were contributing 10 million to the effort to stop real property tax reform because they would then benefit by a 5 billion tax cut to the superrich , they certainly figured it out after that forum.

We thank the BIG International Financial entities  which fund the Manhattan Institute for coming before this discerning crowd clothed only in their naked greed. …next time at least have the decency to try to cover up your junk.

These guys used to be a bit more subtle about buying up government.

This time they even told us how much they’re paying to buy the budget, 10 million….a drop in the bucket compared to what they hope to get back.

A nice evening…we have to do it again sometime.J


February 9, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 3:30 pm


Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 3:28 pm

“Mr. Cuomo’s tax cap effort is a bad bill that promotes a bad idea. People do need property-tax relief but not another state law that makes matters worse.”

NYTimes Wednesday, February 09, 2011




.  “Budgets are moral documents that reflect the values and priorities of a family, church, organization, city, state, or nation. Examining budget priorities is a moral and religious concern. Our political leadership’s tax cut mentality ignores “the least of these”—leaving them with crumbs from the feast of the comfortable,” stated Reverend Jim Reisner, Westminster Presbyterian whose Church hosts a daily soup kitchen just a block from the Capitol.


“Our state’s economic recovery cries out for a balanced approach to closing New York’s budget gap. The budget proposed today by the Governor relies excessively on spending cuts, which would increase unemployment and intensify hardships for those bearing the brunt of the recession,” said Frank Mauro, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute.



Dear editor:


The proposed tax cap is a cap on increases. What good does it do if we are already paying too much?

If the Governor and legislature expect me to be grateful for this, I say NO THANKS!


I request that you survey your readers asking if the current tax rates—including the proposed cap on increases—are sustainable for the rest of their lives. Then ask if paying 7% of their income would be a better, more affordable number over the long term. This is a key difference between the tax cap and the Omnibus Circuit Breaker bill.


Why hasn’t this newspaper gotten behind this true tax reform? The best reform is based on ability to pay, not voodoo numbers.The proposed tax rate cap is a start towards tax reform like a Band-Aid is a start for a broken arm!


L. Lacouette

Coordinating comm. member,

—————————————————————————————————- broadsheet ,


Went to Albany Monday…met with Assemblyman Kevin Cahill ( always worthwhile to talk with Kevin), Assemblyman Sweeney (new to me but interesting meeting) , and the excellent Senator Liz Kreuger, sponsor of our Omnibus Bill S912.

Kevin has two noteworthy bills on property tax reform. A416 and A447…more on that later.


We will be attending a meeting in Garrison on Thursday night where Kevin will talk about his bill to shift funding for schools to the state and off property taxes.

From Kevin’s mouth to the deity that gets bills passed….especially  our Omnibus Bill of course….  No, the other deity, not Speaker Silver, you heretic!

Okay, maybe Speaker Silver.


Listened to John Whiteley and Susan (Zee) Zimet present excellent, intelligent, forthright  testimony before the Joint Budget Committee on the governor’s budget.


In an aside, Assemblyman Brennan from Brooklyn (on the comm. hearing testimony ) called the governor’s budget proposal a “complete disaster”…good for Brennan for having the cojones to call a spade a spade…the budget cuts services and jobs drastically- and takes even more money from STAR -as puny and ineffective as it already is- and makes no provision to lower property taxes (which penalize the middle class)  but does cut taxes on the super wealthy….DUH…why is this practical or equitable in a period when the top 1% of earners are making out like bandits and the middle class is losing the little hold it has on solvency?


I’ll testify before the committee next Monday when the topic is taxation.


Albany is- as usual-  confused and full of rumor and innuendo….


Will a dumb Cap (is there another kind?) pass the Assembly?-it already got a pass through in the Senate which was a cynical exercise in “one house bills” that aren’t going anywhere much… in whatever form they are currently in…anything to please the new boss in town.

Who cares if a cap is not property tax relief OR reform and that the Senators who voted for it should know that’s the case? 


We tax reformers and voters care, that’s who… and some of the senators were candid enough to say they know it’s bad policy but just did it for political reasons (?),thinking the cap wouldn’t get passed in  the Assembly in any recognizable form.


We suspect that SOMETHING called a “cap” might get passed in the Assembly but with so many “perforations” (aka exemptions from the tax levy cap) and probably an easier more democratic override, that it would leak like a sieve.

Not that it matters because it’s “ dog doo” anyway.( as a polite tax reformer called it to avoid the s_ _ t word…quaint.)


If only the Assembly would just abandon the whole ridiculous exercise in saving the cap faction’s face…what a cruel waste of time while the middle class sinks lower and lower into property tax induced penury.


I have been in scarier places than Albany doing scarier things than advocate for property tax relief and reform…and I have to say many (but not all)  the people we’ve met can be charming, sincere, well meaning, and hard -working, and some are even very smart (Kevin and Liz for example) ….so how does one explain ( please, no simplistic stuff like one guy or even three are solely to blame)  the fact that property tax reform has languished in Albany for 3 decades while the middle class burned to ashes and the superrich got all the tax breaks??…and now we have to suffer a piece of garbage like the tax levy cap rising to the surface!!!!….

Okay, maybe I haven’t been in scarier places than Albany…and back again next Monday to testify…


February 5, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 12:41 pm


February 3, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 1:01 am


February 2, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 4:36 pm


NOT OKAY!….Wednesday, February 02, 2011


fairytales that turn into more nightmares…

caps that actually increase property taxes

caps that would bring lawsuits and discord


a budget that has tricks to circumvent court orders ON SCHOOL FUNDING…

A BUDGET THAT TAKES AWAY EVEN MORE OF OUR STAR RELIEF….adding considerably to the one and a half billion in property tax relief already taken away

a budget that guarantees the slashing of local government services







February 1, 2011

Filed under: Updates — gioia @ 7:20 pm


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